- Part 12
- Harry had paced himself to make
sure that Graham would be able to keep up with him. And he had,
to Harry's chagrin. He had even managed to give Harry a run for
his money a couple of times.
- As they raced the last few yards
back around the lake, Harry saw Graham stop suddenly, his gaze
on something at the end of the drive. As Harry neared, he teased,
"Tired, Graham?" and then he saw what had gotten the
boy's attention. Brian Wando's motorcycle. "Get to the house,
Graham," Harry said in a tone that allowed no arguement.
- Graham nodded and cut across the
yard toward the house, aware that Harry was right beside him,
keeping between him and the man on the motorcycle. He wasn't
going to call him dad anymore. Harry was his dad now, not the
man who sat there, watching. The man took off his helmet. "Graham!"
- "Go on, Graham," Harry
- "I just want to talk to you
-" Brian called out.
- Graham stopped, and Harry did the
- The boy shook his head and turned
around to look at his father. "I don't want to talk to you,
okay? Just leave us alone!" he yelled, then turned, and
with a sudden burst of speed, ran toward the house where his
mother was waiting.
- Harry saw Brian's eyes narrow in
anger, saw the way his hand twisted the grip on the motorcycle.
"I'm not going anywhere, Dalton. Not until I talk to my
- "You heard Graham. He doesn't
want to talk to you. If you don't leave, I'll call the police-"
- "It's a public road,"
Brian pointed out. "I'm not on your property. And my bike's
broke down -"
- "I'd be glad to call a tow
truck for you," Harry offered.
- Brian shook his head. "Nah.
It just needs to cool down. Overheats and won't run sometimes."
- Harry spoke softly, but his voice
carried. "Stay away from Rachel and the children, Brian.
They're my responsibility now, and I'll do whatever it takes
to keep them safe."
- "I'm sure you will, Dalton."
- Harry turned and went toward the
house, then led Rachel and Graham inside. "How long has
he been out there?" Harry asked Rachel.
- "Just a few minutes,"
she told him.
- "What's wrong, Mom? I heard
Graham yelling," Lauren said as she came downstairs.
- "Nothing, baby," Rachel
assured her daughter, giving her a hug. "Come away from
the window, Graham," she said. "Let's go into the kitchen
and I'll fix breakfast, okay? How about some pancakes?"
- As they were cleaning up the kitchen,
Harry looked out the window above the sink. He was still out
there, and Harry was becoming angry. "This is crazy. He's
making us a prisoner in our own home." He picked up the
- "What are you doing?"
- "Calling the police,"
he told her.
- Lauren stood on tiptoe to look outside.
"Who's that?" she asked, then saw the looks on the
three other faces. "It's HIM, isn't it?" she asked,
suddenly looking frightened again.
- Harry hung up the phone and sat
down before pulling her into his lap. "He's not going to
hurt you, Lauren. Now, I want you and your brother to go upstairs
to your rooms for a little while. I have to find some way to
get him to leave us alone."
- "Are you going to have him
arrested?" she asked.
- "Would it upset you if I did?"
- "No. As long as he leaves,
I don't care why he leaves."
- Harry hugged her. "Go on upstairs."
He looked at Graham. "Go with her, Graham." He went
to the door and watched them climb the stairs, then picked up
the telephone in the living room, dialing the number for the
- Fifteen minutes later, he hung up.
"Well?" Rachel asked. "What did they say?"
- "They're going to send a car
out to see if he'll leave. He's right. It's a public road, and
he's got a right to be there. As long as he doesn't step onto
this property, we can't do anything about it. Unless he breaks
some law -"
- "Harrassment isn't against
the law? Isn't there anything -"
- Harry went out onto the porch and
sat down, and Rachel joined him there as a county sheriff's car
drove slowly down the road. When Brian saw the car, he put on
his helmet and started his motorcycle, turning it toward town.
The car turned into the drive and stopped.
- Sheriff Miller got out as Harry
and Rachel came down the steps. "Dr. Dalton. Mrs. Dalton.
I"m Sheriff Miller. I happened to be in the office when
your call came in."
- "Sheriff. Thank you. I don't
know how long he would have stayed there if you hadn't come out."
- "I'll make sure one of my deputies
patrols out here often. Maybe it will deter him from staying
around. And we'll keep an eye on him in town. I've seen the bike
at the motel, guess he's staying there."
- "We appreciate any help, Sheriff,"
Rachel told him. "I know there's nothing you can do -"
- "Beyond just watching him,
no. If we do anything more, he can say we're harrassing HIM."
- "I have to go into Portland
tomorrow to the university, Sheriff, and I don't like the idea
of Rachel and children being out here alone- I've reason to believe
that Brian Wando might resort to violence if provoked-"
- "We'll keep an eye on things,
Dr. Dalton," Miller assured him. "You might talk to
the judge about a restraining order."
- "I'm going to call my attorney
about it as soon as you leave," Harry told him.
- "The local judge is Dan Howell,"
he told them, then touched his hat. "I'll be going. And
like I said, I'll have someone drive by here pretty regular."
He got back into his car and turned toward town.
- Harry put his arm around Rachel.
"Let's go call Donna, shall we?"
- It became almost like a game to
Brian. Park the bike on the other side of the road and watch
the house, then, when he saw a police car, start his bike and
return to town. He'd get a cup of coffee or a beer, then go back
out to the road until the next patrol, and then start the game
all over. He knew he was making them nervous. That was good.
Nervous people made mistakes. And all it would take was one mistake
for him to to get those kids.
- One mistake.
- But he he'd forgotten how quickly
things sometimes got done in small towns, where the judge was
able to handle things immediately. Harry was leaving the house
the next morning when he saw Brian pull his motocycle to a stop
before the house again, then get off of it and pretend to check
something on the engine. Harry was about to go back inside and
call the Sheriff when Miller's car appeared, cutting Brian off
before he could ride away.
- "Morning, Sheriff," Brian
said, smiling, removing his helmet. "Gonna be a beautiful
day, isn't it?"
- "For some people," Miller
said. "Are you Brian Wando?"
- "You know I am."
- Miller held out a peice of paper.
"This is for you."
- "What is it?" Brian asked,
not taking the paper.
- "Notice that Dr. and Mrs. Dalton
have filed a peace bond to keep you away from their property.
If you come within 100 feet of their property line or them, or
their children, you'll be subject to arrest."
- "THEIR children? Those kids
aren't Dalton's, Sheriff. I'm their father -"
- Sheriff Miller put the notice inside
of Brian's helmet. "You've been served, Mr. Wando. I think
you might want to consider leaveing Cuttersville for someplace
Brian had no choice but to take the paper to put on his helmet.
"You can tell your friend Dalton that this isn't over, Sheriff.
I'll get my kids. One way or the other."
- "I wouldn't make any threats,
Mr. Wando," Sheriff Miller suggested.
- "That's not a threat. It's
a fact." He glanced toward where Harry was standing, then
started his motorcycle and headed toward town.
- Sheriff Miller crossed to Harry.
"I'll keep the patrols going just in case he didn't get
the message, Dr. Dalton."
- "Thank you. I appreciate your
being so helpful."
- "I had four kids of my own,
Dr. Dalton. One was a step child. And if her father had ever
tried to do what Brian Wando is doing, I'd have nailed him to
the wall. You go on to work, and don't worry."
- "That's easier said than done,
Sheriff," Harry said. "But I'll try." He had a
feeling that he was going to be spending most of the day on the
telephone. He put his briefcase into the truck, then went back
into the house to tell Rachel what had happened.
- When telephone rang ten minutes
after he arrived in his office, Harry grabbed it quickly, thinking
it might be Rachel. But it was Terry's voice on the line. "Well,
Harry? Did he show up?" he asked, not wasting any time.
- "He did, Terry. I want to thank
you for calling me the other day. I expected you to call sooner-"
- "Tell you the truth, Harry,
I crashed when I got home. You know what the beds in that little
trailer are like. Can't sleep in them at all. Is everything all
- "We still don't know. Brian
says he wants the kids back, but we've found out that he's made
some sort of agreement with a television station to get them
in for an interview - "
- "Sounds like a real nice guy
- "You have gift for understatement,
Terry." He fought the urge to ask about Terry's statement
that Dante's Peak wasn't dormant, and he lost. "What did
you and Nancy find up there?"
- Terry hesitated before answering.
"Levels are all still pretty high. There's been some minor
seismic activity - the largest we saw was only 2.2. There's no
sign of a lava eruption -"
- "You don't think she could
go off again? Terry, two eruptions in such a short span of time
is almost unheard of. It doesn't happen."
- "After the way she fooled us
before, I'm not counting that lady out until the readings drop
comepletely," Terry told him. "Nancy and I set up equipment
to monitor the mountain from here. Too bad you won't go back
up there, Harry. I think you'd be able to tell what she's up
to if you did."
- "I can't, Terry," Harry
told him, feeling his palms start to sweat at the very thought
of returning to that volcano. "I need to call Rachel, make
sure she and the kids are okay. Tell everyone I said hello, will
- "Sure. And you give Rachel
and the kids my best."
- Harry hung up, then immediately
dialed the number for home. It took a moment for the line to
be answered, and Harry was on the verge of calling the Sheriff
- Rachel answered. "Hello?"
- "Rachel. What took you so long?"
- "The kids and I were outside
enjoying the weather," she explained. "I"m sorry,
- "Then there's been no sign
- "Nothing. Maybe he's given
- "I doubt it. I know I wouldn't.
Just keep a watch, okay?"
- "I am. You sound upset."
- "Terry called," he told
her. "We'll discuss it later. My schedule's clear for the
afternoon, and so I'll be home early."
- "You don't have to -"
- "I want to. I can tell already
that I'm not going to get very much done around here today."
- "I'll be expecting you, then.
I love you."
- "And I love you." He looked
up at Leo Morgan tapped on his door, a textbook in his hand.
- Rachel picked up the telephone on
the second ring. "Hello?"
- "Hello, Rachel."
- Her blood went cold at the sound
of that voice. "Brian," she said quietly, hoping the
kids were occupied enough by the television to not hear her.
"What are you doing -"
- "The paper didn't say anything
about telephone calls," he pointed out. "Just that
I wasn't to go near you or my kids."
- "No CONTACT, Brian," Rachel
pointed out. "I think you need to read it again."
- "I don't need to. Because it
won't make any difference. You know why, Rachel? Because your
wonderful Harry Dalton won't want to deprive me of my kids anymore
than he would want to be deprived of that baby that you're carrying."
Rachel's fingers tightened on the telephone as Brian laughed
softly. "I know, Rachel.
- How long did it take you to start
sleeping with him, Rachel? A day? Two?"
- "That's none of your business,
Brian," she hissed into the receiver. "You and I are
divorced, remember? Because that's what YOU wanted. Don't you
start threatening me or the baby I'm carrying now. I should have
filed charges on you. Like Jane wanted me to do."
- "Oh, but you couldn't do that.
Wouldn't look good for someone with aspirations of running for
city council and eventually mayor for the town to find out that
she can't control her own household, would it?"
- "Leave us alone, Brian. And
if you call again, I'll call the police." She hung up, shaking.
Sitting down, she dialed the number for Harry's office.
- "I think that will do what
we need," Harry was telling Leo. "And if you're willing
to lead the tour of the St. Helens site -"
- "Who's going to do the Dante's
Peak tour?" Leo asked, his grey eyes on Harry. "You?"
- "No," Harry said quickly.
"I'm going to ask a friend from the USGS if he's willing
to do it. You remember Terry Furlong, I believe?"
- "Sure, I remember old Terry.
Started as an intern the year I quit. Think he'll do it?"
- "Probably." The telephone
rang, and Harry gave Leo an apologetic look as he answered. "Harry
- "Harry, it's Rachel."
- He heard the fear and panic in her
voice immediately, and his hand tightened its grip. "What's
wrong? Is he back again?" He saw Leo's concerned expression.
- "He called. I don't know how
he got the number, Harry, -"
- "Turn on the answering machine
and let it screen the calls," Harry told her.
- "He knows about the baby, too,
- "Dear God. It's okay. I'll
take care of the telephone problem. You just do as I said, and
don't answer the telephone if it's him."
- "I won't. How soon are you
going to be home?" she asked.
- "Soon," he assured her.
After he hung up, he turned to Leo. "I think I need to stop
by Donna's office before I go home," he said.
- "We can finish this later,"
Leo told him. "Why don't you take off now? I'll call Donna
and let her know you're on your way."
- "Thanks, Leo."
After talking to Donna Morgan, Harry made another stop before
heading back toward Cuttersville. As he drove through town, he
passed the RiverCrest Motel and noticed that Brian Wando's motorcycle
was parked there. On impulse, he turned his truck into the parking
area, bringing it to a halt beside the machine. The bike was
parked before Room 6, and Harry found himself knocking on the
door of that room. There was no answer, and Harry was turning
to go back to his truck when he heard Brian's voice.
- "You looking for me, Dr. Dalton?"
- He turned to see Brian coming toward
him. "As a matter of fact, I was. Leave my family alone,
Brian. The children don't want to see you again - and Rachel
"She certainly didn't waste much time getting pregnant again
Barely married what? A month?"
- "Closer to two," Harry
informed him. "And that child is something we BOTH wanted.
Unlike you, I want children. An entire housefull of them, if
- "You'll probably get it with
Rachel," Brian commented, leaning against his bike.
- "Don't call, don't go anywhere
near that house," Harry told him. "If you do anything
to hurt Rachel or those children -"
- "I don't want to hurt the kids,
Dalton. They are mine, after all."
- "Is that why you caused Rachel
to lose the last child she became pregnant with?"
- "That was an accident. As usual,
she hadn't discussed having a baby with me before hand. I thought
she understood how I felt, that I didn't want to be tied down
- "Yet now, you expect her to
simply hand Graham and Lauren over to you -"
- "I've changed," Brian
- Harry's fist clenched and unclenched
as he looked into that smirking face. He wouldn't resolve anything
by hitting Brian. In all probability, such an action would only
make matters worse. He refused to resort to physical violence,
to bring himself to Brian Wando's level. Finally, he turned to
open the door of his truck. "Stay away from my family, Brian.
I won't warn you again."
- Brian sat there on his motorcycle,
watching as the truck turned toward the mountain road, and started
to laugh, ignoring the curious looks of the people who passed